Letting the Past Die: Are We Letting Old Hurts Clutter Our New Year?

(Photo courtesy of starwars.com)

Letting the Past Die: Are We Letting Old Hurts Clutter Our New Year?

By Keni Kirkwood


The realm of fiction has immense power: the power to impact our reality. The stories around us can have incredibly long lasting effects. “Star Wars” has reached at least three generations now with tales of love, loss, hope, and redemption in a galaxy far, far away. Yet upon closer examination, we see that we face those very things in our own galaxy every day – and without the aid of a lightsaber.

The latest trilogy introduces us to Kylo Ren, seemingly Darth Vader 2.0. He is following the same familiar path of destruction and galactic domination. But as the series grows, it’s clear that he wasn’t always this way and that he still feels the pull of The Light. As Kylo Ren connects with trilogy heroine Rey, he longs for something new, a new kind of empire.

In “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” he tells Rey, “Let the past die. Kill it if you have to. It’s the only way to become who you were meant to be” (Johnson & Lucas, 2017, Walt Disney Studios). These words have really stuck with me and made me think. Maybe we need to let the past die. We might even have to kill it.

We all have hurts in our past: anger, fear, regret, and heartbreak. Whether it be scars left from relationships and circumstances, or shadows of who we once were, these things are hard to let go of. They can destroy our relationships and our happiness – our own galaxy, if we let them. But Jesus didn’t die for us to live with haunted hearts.

He came to set us free from the pain we carry. When we invite Jesus into our hearts we are radically renewed. Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” (New Living Translation).

Paul is saying that when Jesus comes into our lives, our old self – our sins and our past – die so that Jesus can give us new life. But sometimes we don’t let it all die and we let our old hurts clutter our new life. When that happens, we aren’t living in the freedom Jesus wants to give us. It’s not easy to let go. It’s called “hurt”  for a reason. Wounds run deep. Sometimes we feel totally alone and the enemy (the devil) whispers lies to keep us from healing.

Sounds rather familiar, doesn’t it? In fact, it brings us back to where we started: Kylo Ren. You see, he was once Ben Solo, and he grew up tormented by the dark, fighting voices in his head that fed him lies. His family – even Jedi uncle, Luke Skywalker, became afraid of him and pushed him away. He felt rejected by those who should have rescued him.

Thankfully, that’s not the story’s end. His words would take on new meaning in Episode IX when he did let go of the past, but not to form a new empire. He chose to let the light in. He became Ben Solo again. He became who he was meant to be. We can let the light in, too. We can silence the lies and be free. It might not be easy, but we aren’t alone.

Jesus wants to take our hurts. He wants to flood our dark with His Light. With this new year, let’s embrace that new life in Christ. He is simply waiting for us to let go and reach for His healing, if only we would have the strength to do it.